Countries and Movies: Hungary

The best film of Hungarian cinema, according to FilmGourmand, is "Mephisto" by István Szabó. It is believed that this film marked the beginning of the so-called "German trilogy" by István Szabó, which also included the films "Oberst Redl (Colonel Redl)" and "Hanussen".

The film’s literary basis was the novel "Mephisto" written in 1936 by Klaus Mann, the son of classic of German literature Thomas Mann. The prototype of the protagonist of the novel is considered a relative of Klaus Mann, the German actor Gustaf Gründgens. Those who watched the Fritz Lang movie "M" could see this actor.

Shot from the movie "M". Stands, in a hat and a leather coat - Gustaf Gründgens.

At the same time, the ideological connection between Klaus Mann’s novel and Goethe’s immortal creation, Faust, is quite obvious. It is curious that if in the novel by Klaus Mann, and then in the film of István Szabó, the prototype of Gustaf Gründgens represents Dr. Faust, then in his last film “Faust” in which Gustaf Grundgens plays plays Mephistopheles. Apparently, something diabolical was inherent in this actor, which is why he was drawn into the Nazi movement and exalted by it.


Another interesting point: the Hungarian film company Mafilm was helped in creating the film by two West German film companies: Manfred Durniok Filmproduktion and Hessischer Rundfunk. And this despite the fact that until 2000, Klaus Mann’s novel was banned in Germany. Russian film critic Yevgeny Nefyodov suggests that such a long ban on a book denouncing Nazism is explained not only by the respectful attitude of the German authorities to the request of Gustaf Gründgens' son, but also by the fact that “the events of the work remained unacceptably topical at that moment ... when the authorities began a broad campaign to, let's say, stop repentant tendencies in the country responsible for unleashing the World War II and other Nazi atrocities."

The film premiered in Hungary on February 11, 1981. Three months after the premiere in Hungary, István Szabó's film took part in the Cannes International Film Festival, where he was nominated for the highest award - Palme d'Or. The jury of the film festival, chaired by the French filmmaker Jacques Deray, gave preference to the film by the Polish director Andrzej Wajda "Czlowiek z zelaza (Man of Iron)".

However, in the competition for the Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language Film category in 1982, these films switched places: "Mephisto" received an Oscar, and "Man of Iron" was content with a nomination. And in the same 1982, István Szabó's film received another prestigious prize - the Italian award David di Donatello as Best Foreign Film.

The perception of the film by István Szabó, who represented socialist Hungary, was, to put it mildly, ambiguous by American film critics. The reviewer of The New York Times, the mouthpiece of the US Democratic Party, Janet Maslin, apparently offended by the film "Mephisto" and its author for exposing Nazism, even before the film was presented to the participants of the New York Film Festival, erupted in a review filled with very unflattering characteristics about the film, of type: "movie lacks an essential clarity", or "Mr. Szabo, who has set a number of characters and subplots in spin, has trouble keeping the material organized, and a number of later developments are unduly ambiguous", or "Mephisto" seems somewhat remote, without all the urgency of which Mr. Szabo has shown himself capable." By Janet Maslin Sept. 29, 1981

But the guru of American film criticism Roger Ebert rated the film with four stars out of 4 possible and included it into his list of "The Great Movies". In his review of the film, he wrote: "Mephisto" does an uncanny job of creating its period, of showing us Hamburg and Berlin from the 1920s to the 1940s. I've never seen a movie that does a better job of showing the seductive Nazi practice of providing party members with theatrical costumes, titles and pageantry. In this movie not being a Nazi is like being at a black-tie ball in a brown corduroy suit. "

Viewers rated the film "Mephisto" highly enough. 65% of IMDB and Kinopoisk users rated the film from 8 to 10. Based on this and the above success indicators, the rating of the film according to FilmGourmand was 8.894, making it the 181st place in the Golden Thousand.

In addition to the film "Mephisto", the Golden Thousand included 6 more films of Hungarian filmmakers, including:

Az ötödik pecsét (The Fifth Seal). Director Zoltán Fábri, 1976. Movie's Rating - 8,695; 243rd Rank in the Golden Thousand.

Szerelem (Love). Director Károly Makk, 1970. Movie's Rating - 8,578; 287th Rank in the Golden Thousand.

Sátántangó. Director Béla Tarr, 1984. Movie's Rating - 8,365; 385th Rank in the Golden Thousand.

Werckmeister harmóniák (Werckmeister Harmonies). Directors Béla Tarr and Ágnes Hranitzky, 2000. Movie's Rating - 8,081; 608th Rank in the Golden Thousand.

A Pál utcai fiúk (The Boys of Paul Street). Director Zoltán Fábri, 1968. Movie's Rating - 8,064; 630th Rank in the Golden Thousand.

Sunshine. Director István Szabó, 1999. Movie's Rating - 8,056; 638th Rank in the Golden Thousand.